Source description last updated: 1 February 2021

In brief: The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) is a Kabul-based independent research organisation that conducts policy-relevant research with the aim of informing policy and practice.

Coverage on ecoi.net:

Reports

Covered monthly on ecoi.net for Afghanistan.

Mission/Mandate/Objectives:

“The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) is a Kabul-based independent research think tank established in 2002 with the assistance of the international community in Afghanistan. [...] AREU envisions an Afghanistan where policy decisions are made on the basis of evidence, open debate, and widespread public awareness in the belief that this will better reflect the priorities of the Afghan people and give rise to more informed policies and programs.” (AREU website: Who We Are, undated)

“AREU’s mission is to inform and influence policy and practice by conducting high-quality, policy relevant, evidence-based research and actively disseminating the results and promote a culture of research and learning.” (AREU: Solidarity, strength and substance: Women’s Political Participation in Afghanistan, October 2020, p. I)

“AREU is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of representatives of donor organizations, embassies, the United Nations and other multilateral agencies, Afghan civil society, and independent experts” (AREU website: Who We Are, undated). “Since 2020, AREU organization is registered with Ministry of Economy (MoEc) as a non-profit NGO” (AREU: Solidarity, strength and substance: Women’s Political Participation in Afghanistan, October 2020, p. I).

“AREU produces approximately 30 original publications per year in English, Dari, and Pashto, based on our six thematic research areas.” (AREU website: About Publications, undated)

Funding:

“AREU’s core donor is the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Specific projects in 2019 [were] funded by the European Union (EU), United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Overseas Development Institute (ODI-UK), School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Economic and Social Research Council United Kingdom (ESRC-UK), UN-Women, Save the Children, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), and University of Essex.” (AREU website: Who We Are, undated)

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: Afghanistan

Thematic focus: Governance and Political Economy, Natural Resource Management (NRM), Gender, Social Protection, Legal Studies and Constitutional Review, Regional Cooperation and Migration Studies

Methodology:

AREU’s research publications may be authored by staff researchers (see, for example, AREU: Women’s Participation in the Afghan Peace Process, September 2020) and/or external independent consultants who may be academics or independent researchers (see, for example, AREU: Solidarity, strength and substance: Women’s Political Participation in Afghanistan, October 2020 and AREU/IFIT: In War, No One Distributes Sweets, September 2020). These researchers may be assisted by local teams while conducting fieldwork (see, for example, AREU: The Helmand Food Zone: The Illusion of Success, November 2019, p. 10).

Depending on the issue being researched, reports may be based on a review of existing literature, previous on-the-ground-research conducted by AREU (see, for example, AREU/IFIT: In War, No One Distributes Sweets, September 2020, p. 9) or its external research consultant(s) (see, for example, AREU: Mules, Pick-ups and Container Traffic: Cross-Border Production and Trade and the Shaping of the Political Economy of Nangarhar, June 2020, pp. 4–5) and/or qualitative research, which may include semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with interviewees including women, government and civil society representatives (see, for example, AREU: Solidarity, strength and substance: Women’s Political Participation in Afghanistan, October 2020, p. 7 and AREU: Women’s Participation in the Afghan Peace Process, September 2020, pp. 3–4), community elders (see, for example, AREU: Can the Afghan state intervene successfully in the conflict between nomads and settlers?, February 2020, p. 1) and local farming households (see, for example, AREU: The Helmand Food Zone: The Illusion of Success, November 2019). When dealing with sensitive issues, researchers may avoid group discussions and conduct interviews on an individual basis only (see, for example, AREU: Mules, Pick-ups and Container Traffic: Cross-Border Production and Trade and the Shaping of the Political Economy of Nangarhar, June 2020, p. 9).

As AREU explains, “[a] pool of language and technical editors, peer-reviewers, translators, and designers work on these publications [...]” (AREU website: About Publications, undated), which may be peer-reviewed by external experts (see, for example, AREU/IFIT: In War, No One Distributes Sweets, September 2020) or anonymous peer reviewers (see, for example, AREU: Solidarity, strength and substance: Women’s Political Participation in Afghanistan, October 2020, p. III and AREU: Women’s Participation in the Afghan Peace Process, September 2020, p. IV).

Languages of publication:

English, Dari and Pashto

Further reading / links:

SIDA – Swedish International Development Agency: Evaluation of Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), Final Report [2014:2:I – Sida Decentralised Evaluation], December 2013
https://publikationer.sida.se/contentassets/5ae088ba345542309bf68fe3ca2137d6/evaluation-of-afghanistan-research-and-evaluation-unit-areu---final-report_3713.pdf
 

All links accessed 1 February 2021